Travel & Outdoor
Country Extra

Country Extra November 2019

See more of America's countryside with every issue of Country EXTRA!  Country EXTRA is delivered in between your issues of Country.  Celebrate the people, places and stories that make country life so special. Discover America through first-hand reader visits with country folks, full-color photos, reviews of country inns, country-fresh recipes and time-saving tips and shortcuts.

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7 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
the leaf keepers

WHILE OUT ON A SHOPPING ADVENTURE with her grandma, my daughter collected a few leaves. She carried her treasures home, tucking them away in the middle of a store catalog. Later, she proudly showed them to me—four leaves with the slightest hint of change on the edges. This was the start of a new favorite pastime. The cover of this issue is a nod to all those little collectors who find keepsakes of the season in leaf piles at home and around the school playground. Some will glue them onto stark white sheets of paper as an art project, while others may slide them into a book to be discovered years later, sparking a little nostalgia for fall. Here at Country we like to think of ourselves as leaf keepers, too. Instead…

2 min.
dear country...

I READ WITH INTEREST “The School of My Dreams,” on page 10 of the September issue. In my earlier travels, I had come across a few of these forgotten buildings and wondered what it must have been like to attend such a school. In 2015, I bought an old school building in Lisbon, Illinois. Built of stone, rock and concrete, the structure was solid for its age but in need of tender loving repair. I’m building two apartments in the structure. I asked around the village and eventually found someone who had attended this school, which taught students up to the 10th grade. He is well into his 90s and shared a lot of history with me. To my surprise, he produced a picture (above) of his class at the old school and…

1 min.
a peaceful retreat

I’m fortunate to live in Hanover, Pennsylvania, only 14 miles from the farm at the Eisenhower National Historic Site, located next to the Gettysburg battlefield. On a beautiful Saturday I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this serene setting. The farm was former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders during his presidency. He and his wife, Mamie, permanently moved to the farm after he left office and resided there until passing away. Still a working farm, this is a wonderful place to visit. The house has been kept primarily as it was when the Eisenhowers lived there. You can feel the history in every room. I have been to the farm in every season, but the breathtaking foliage in fall makes that my favorite. The Eisenhowers…

1 min.
wonders of the night

MY PASSION IS photographing the night sky, specifically the Milky Way. That is why my husband, Mike, and I traveled to Davis Mountains State Park in Texas, where there is no light pollution. Being in a dark-sky location with a blanket of stars shining overhead is surreal. To millions of Americans, the Milky Way is invisible where they live. I was setting up my camera that evening and saw a group of Boy Scouts hiking up the mountain with headlamps. As I began to shoot the Milky Way, I noticed that the top of the mountain was illuminated by the Scouts’ headlamps. The beautiful picture at right reminds me of how precious our children are and how important it is to spend time with them outdoors. It was truly a memorable night!…

1 min.
school lessons

OUR FALL FORMAL was coming up, and two of my college friends were asked to help decorate the hall for the night. On the day of the event, the girls were looking for bright fall leaves to use in large bouquets, so we jumped in my car to search for autumn colors at a nearby park. We climbed the steep hillside and discovered bushes with long branches filled with red, yellow and green leaves. I cut the best stems, and the girls gathered the beautiful leaves in their arms. Soon we filled the trunk of my car and returned to school. We decorated the hall with bright pillars of leaves and had it ready for the formal event later that evening. One of the first to arrive was a dean who admired…

1 min.
a feast fit for squirrels

THEY SAY THE APPLE doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what about acorns? I loved visiting Grandma Regina on her farm in central Wisconsin. The drive there whisked me farther and farther away from city life and my stressful job. On the highway, I told stories of my childhood vacations to my electronic-era sons, and to them it was as if we were traveling to another planet. Soon, Grandma and I sat together at her kitchen table, as we had so many times before, talking of relatives and their foibles. The kids went for a walk, so it was just Grandma and I. While we talked, we watched birds flutter outside at the feeder, which was secured to a large flat board attached directly outside her oversized kitchen window. There was a…